Most writers love to write (yep, there are a few who don’t love it but are great at it). But that doesn’t always make the act of writing easy. It is still work for many of us.
If I gave up every time I was fed up with the work of writing, I probably would never write. In fact, after writing out 3/4 of this article originally, I accidentally hit a shortcut that shut down my entire browser tab and lost my entire article. Yes, I cried. Though tempted, I chose not to give up and rewrote the article.
But there’s this flaw in me I’m trying to work out. I have given up on things way too often when they got hard. I need to get over the fact that most things worth doing are going to be hard and require a lot of work. Writing is one of them. Most of the time, writing comes slow for me. Sometimes I simply think too much, rather than just letting the words come.
Great writers learn by doing life outside of the act of writing.
Here are four tasks that accompany writers, aside from writing itself.
Writers benefit from plenty of reading in order to spark imagination, creativity, and inspiration. By reading the language of other writers, we fine tune our own. We learn to say things in new ways. Not necessarily through adopting someone else’s writing style, but by adapting their ideas.
Reading isn’t limited to only the type of writing one prefers. For example, just because I prefer to write non-fiction, does not mean I will not benefit as a writer by reading fiction. All genres should be explored to some extent. It allows for a well-rounded writer. But, choosing at least a few different genres to explore consistently, is a good idea.
It’s not uncommon for writers to research topics in order to gain new ideas or confirm information is accurate. Sometimes this can be a tedious process. But often, it can spark new ideas we hadn’t thought of before. Just because there is nothing new under the sun, doesn’t mean we know it all. There is always something more to learn; in greater depth, from a different angle, through different eyes.
This may be the most challenging work of all for a writer. It’s not hard to get lost in our own thoughts, trying to organize them and pen them out.
The best way to write well, is to live well. Live fully. Breathe in everything around you. The best words are written from experience. How better to connect with your readers than to understand how it feels or tastes or smells? We can only accurately articulate these senses by experiencing them ourselves.
The body and mind require rest in order to work at its peak. Unfortunately, it’s not something many writers take seriously (myself included). Especially being a mom of young children, often the only time we can squeeze writing in is by keeping the midnight oil burning or rising before the dawn breaks. Not necessarily bad once in a while, but it’s important for the brain to rest physically and emotionally, so it can work optimally.
Writing is a discipline. It may come easier for some than others. But I don’t think that makes it less enjoyable for those who have to work harder at it. I just believe that it’s something many of us need to accept in order to allow yourself permission to actually write. A little hard work never killed anyone. If you’re holding back because writing is work, embrace it. It is work. But it’s rewarding work.